Software to help retailers manage social distancing

5th May 2020
Alex Lynn

VCA Technology has released a new software tool to help retailers manage the monitoring of footfall and social distancing in their stores. The software is able to analyse shoppers’ movements in, out and around the store by simply mapping their gait, which is unique to everyone. By mapping this nature of movement, retailers will be able to differentiate shoppers whilst not infringing on their privacy.

With retailers needing to manage social distancing within stores for the foreseeable future, this solution enables them to monitor the store and apply rules to trigger alerts. This is especially crucial in queue management, which would need rigorous manual oversight. Alerts, on the other hand, can help focus attention to where it’s needed; thereby keeping staff safe.

Kevin Waterhouse, Managing Director, VCA Technology commented: “The COVID-19 pandemic has rewritten the rules of retail, and the social distancing policies we have seen introduced will not disappear when lockdown ends. The technology we’ve created helps retailers manage this new normal, by integrating with existing software yet providing extra value-adds.

“For example, the one in, one out policy is easy to manage in small shops, yet for superstores with multiple entrances and exits, it is much harder to regulate, without funnelling everyone through one door, creating queuing hazards. This pose analysis will help manage this digitally, thereby regulating store occupancy in a more efficient way, allowing for a seamless entrance and exit strategy.”

This software can provide the data to create the following information:

  • Queue counting
  • Unique identifiers to prevent double counting
  • Time-in-store analysis
  • Heat maps
  • Time at checkout analysis
  • Staff detection
  • Forensic search by unique ID
  • Walk offs/basket abandonment

The technology is already being trialled by a major Spanish retailer with their incumbent cameras and security software, and is available to retailers globally.

Waterhouse concluded: “Store layouts will probably change in light of COVID-19, but until then, retailers need technology to be doing the heavy lifting and alerting to potential distancing breaches. Retailers can use this intelligence to help form store strategies moving forward, to enable a more sophisticated response, whilst also ensuring shoppers’ privacy.”

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